It is justifiable to treat claims of “monitoring” with some scepticism—in politics they are commonly used as a pretence that action will, if necessary, be taken (to solve a problem on which it has already been decided that nothing will be done, or which is already out of control).

But in a managed ecosystem—notably a closed-access commons—monitoring in the sense of frequent presence and assessment is fundamental. A well-managed fishery such as that of Iceland is monitored constantly, and fishing decisions are made on the basis of this. Joy Measures, an organic Hereford beef farmer in Shropshire, visits her animals and chats to them at least twice a day. The reindeer herders in the far north of Finland monitor their herds and the weather in fine detail, reading the night sky for guidance on the decisions of travelling and fishing. The permaculturist Martin Crawford wanders through his forest garden, often.

Here is the sharp feedback of resilience. Monitoring is an ethic at the heart of lean thinking: it is not about calculating but about being there.


Related entries:

Harmless Lunatic, Food Prospects, TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas).

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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